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‘Quite solicitous’ mammals returned to NSW for first time in a century

Crest-tailed mulgaras, small carnivorous marsupials related to the Tasmanian devil, are being re-introduced to the wilds of western NSW after being presumed extinct in the state for more than a century.

About19 of the mammals, described as “quite solicitous of each other” unlike their Tasmanian relatives, have been released in the Sturt National Park as part of a project between the University of NSW and the state government that will eventually involve more than a dozen threatened species.

The mulgara is believed to have become locally extinct in NSW because of cats and foxes. It is now being reintroduced into the wild along with a dozen other threatened mammals.

The mulgara is believed to have become locally extinct in NSW because of cats and foxes. It is now being reintroduced into the wild along with a dozen other threatened mammals.Credit:Wild Deserts/UNSW

The mulgaras were sourced from the western side of the dingo-proof fence in South Australia in the Strzelecki and Simpson deserts, where the marsupials’ main foes such as feral cats and foxes are restricted.

“They are doing quite well [in South Australia] where dingoes are keeping the cat and fox numbers under control,” said Richard Kingsford, leader of the Wild Deserts program and a UNSW professor. “It allows [mulgaras] to have a niche.”

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